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June 26, 2008

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Paul Flynn

Thanks Huw, I appreciated your always thoughtful comments.

There have been more than 1,500 additional hits on my site because on my mention of global warming. That's always good. Maybe they will come back and read the site again. They seems to have a cult-like enthusiasm. I have no hope of converting them.

But the 'do nothing' arguments is also worrying. We must show the Chinese/Indians/ Brazilians that we are making sacrifices in order to demonstrate our seriousness.

Someone I admired greatly as a visionary, Lester Brown was in the Commons recently. He commented on Denier Nigel Lawson. A non-scientist and politician, Lawson asserts with great confidence that: "There is, indeed, a real question about the extent to which modern global warming science is genuine science at all", page 6.

Scientists have responded to this insult quite coolly. For example, Peter Stott, from the Met Office Hadley Centre in a letter to The Guardian, Tuesday, 6th May 2008, wrote in response to Lawson: "One simple result stands out from the data. Readings taken from land stations, the decks of ships and records of sea surface temperatures all show a long-term warming trend. Other observations, such as the retreating Arctic ice, demonstrate the effects of this human-induced warming. The message the data is telling us is very clear."

Even the shadow spokesperson for the Conservative Party, Peter Ainsworth, has distanced himself and the party from Lawson's commentary.

As to mitigating against the risks of catastrophic climate change, or adaptation to it, Lawson draws heavily on the prevailing economic view that future generations will be richer than we are. As a result, he claims, we should leave any potential costly adjustments to them because they will be better able to afford them... If they still have a choice of course. The gathering evidence on climate feedback loops for example is indicating, with ever-increasing certainty, that beyond certain tipping points, no amount of cash thrown at the problem will have any effect at all.

This book should be taken seriously by scientists and others for the fact that a lot of people are likely to read it and may give it credence, even though it is ill-argued and subjective (on the heat wave in Europe in 2003, during which thousands of people died from heat stress, Lawson notes: "As it happens, I spent the summer of 2003 in south-west France myself, and found it perfectly tolerable", page 34). People are afraid of climate change, but they are also afraid of what it will mean for their lives if we are to take serious action to avoid the worst effects. This populist book will serve to allay these fears and gather support for a business-as-usual approach. Those serious about protecting our civilisation and life on earth, scientists especially, cannot allow Lawson to go unchallenged.

Huw O'Sullivan

Ah Paul it seems you will never learn, the people who believe with every fibre of their being that global warming is not happening and even it were happening it is nothing to do with us and even if it was to do with us there is nothing we could conceivably do about it aren't just going to go away, they take all the same routes and genuinely all the same pleasure that the american evangelicals take in proving evolution is wrong and in the US they are often the same people.
The task is monumental and there is a particular issue in relation to it that affects the UK more than any country and the English more than any other nation.
We all know that as individuals we can all do our part, we all know that the part one individual can play is tiny. The average nation is small fry when China can increase its level of pollution by the equivalent of all British output in a year, in a week.
Most countries have to deal with the fact they individually they are of little consequence, only the English truly resent that. Absolute anathema to many English, that they would have only a bit part to play, so most will choose to not play at all.
You make a mistake also when you think the nation needs to be made afraid, it needs to be made to believe it is leading the way. That it is blazing a trail, no, even better, courageously forging a new destiny for itself and for the world.
Mind you the campaign for plain english will probably complain that they only understand forging to mean faking money and the whole tiresome argument will start again.

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